The Catholic Defender: Blessed Angelina of Marsciano
Blessed Angeline founded the first community of Franciscan women other than Poor Clares to receive papal approval. Angeline was born to the Duke of Marsciano near Orvieto. She was 12 when her mother died. Three years later, the young woman made a vow of perpetual chastity.
The first words Blessed Angelina of Marciano uttered were the holy names of Jesus and Mary. She delighted in building little altars, which she decorated tastefully, and around which she would gather other girls of her age to pray and sing.
Blessed Angeline founded the first community of Franciscan women other than Poor Clares to receive papal approval.
Angeline was born to the Duke of Marsciano near Orvieto. She was 12 when her mother died. Three years later, the young woman made a vow of perpetual chastity. That same year, however, she yielded to her father’s decision that she marry the Duke of Civitella. Her husband agreed to respect her previous vow.
Blessed Angelina lost her mother when she was but 12 years of age. Her attachment to Jesus Christ then became more intimate and she vowed perpetual chastity. Blessed Angelina had scarcely reached the age of 15 when her more worldly-minded father told her that he wanted her to marry the duke of Civitella. Angelina declared that she wished no other than her heavenly Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.
The duke was filled with rage at her opposition. He gave her one week to decide, threatening to dispatch her with his sword if she persevered in her refusal. Angelina increased her prayers and penitential austerities, pleading with her Lord Jesus Christ, with the Blessed Virgin, St Joseph, and the virgin disciple St John to help her preserve the virginity she had vowed.
Left orphaned and alone, except for one sister, by the age of six, she was raised by her grandparents.
When he died two years later, Angeline joined the Secular Franciscans and with several other women dedicated herself to caring for the sick, the poor, widows and orphans. When many other young women were attracted to Angeline’s community, some people accused her of condemning the married vocation.
when she came before the King of Naples to answer these charges, she had burning coals hidden in the folds of her cloak. When she proclaimed her innocence and showed the king that these coals had not harmed her, he dropped the case.
Angeline and her companions later went to Foligno, where her community of Third Order sisters received papal approval in 1397. She soon established 15 similar communities of women in other Italian cities.
Angeline died on July 14, 1435, and was beatified in 1825. Her liturgical feast is celebrated on July 13.